Prosecutor-General Tomana caged

HARARE - In a stunning development, police arrested and detained Prosecutor-General Johannes Tomana on Monday on charges of criminal abuse of office after he allegedly illegally released suspects accused of attempting to topple President Robert Mugabe from power.

Although Tomana, 48, was not in hand-cuffs when he arrived at a packed Harare Magistrates’ Court in the afternoon for his bail hearing, he was under heavy police escort, which included members of the riot squad.

Harare magistrate, Vakayi Chikwekwe, granted him $1 000 bail.

As part of his bail conditions, he was ordered to surrender his passport, report three times a week to police, and to reside at the address that he provided to the court.

He will be back in court on February 16.

Prosecutors Timothy Makoni and Gwinyai Shumba said Tomana had allegedly ordered the illegal release of Solomon Makumbe and Silas Pfupa, who are facing treason charges, before police had finalised their investigations into the matter.

Makumbe, a serving member of the Zimbabwe National Army, and Pfupa, a former soldier, are jointly charged in the treason case together with Owen Kuwacha — leader of the little-known Zimbabwe People’s Front party — and another serving soldier, Borman Ngwenya.

The four, who were arrested on January 22 this year, were initially accused of possessing weaponry for the purpose of committing sabotage at the First Family’s Gushungo Dairy farm in Mazowe, before the charge was elevated to treason yesterday.

The National Prosecuting Authority’s national director for public prosecutions, Florence Ziyambi, her deputy Nelson Mutsonziwa, chief law officer Michael Rutendo Mugabe and Chris Mutangadura directed at the time that the four be placed on remand as there was reasonable suspicion that they had committed the offence.

The accused were later remanded in custody to February 8, after being advised to apply for bail at the High Court.

“On January 29, the accused person, as the Prosecutor-General, well knowing that police investigations were still in their infancy, and without having sight of a complete docket, clandestinely directed the withdrawal of charges before plea against two of the principal accused, Solomon Makumbe and Silas Pfupa, who were resultantly released from remand,” reads part of the court papers.

The offence is said to have been discovered by the investigating team when it went to Chikurubi Maximum Security Remand Prison for further investigations, upon which they realised that Makumbe and Pfupa had already been released.

“The accused person, using his authority as the Prosecutor-General ordered his subordinate Michael Mugabe to originate a document memorandum instructing (Mr Jonathan) Murombedzi, the district public prosecutor, Harare, to cause the withdrawal before plea of the charges against the two accused persons supra,” the court heard.

It is further alleged that the investigating team then made follow-ups with Murombedzi, who indicated that he had acted under Tomana’s instructions.

“Investigations revealed that contrary to, and inconsistent with his duties, the accused had unlawfully endorsed the withdrawal of charges against Solomon Makumbe and Silas Pfupa, and this also amounts to defeating or obstructing the course of justice,” the court heard.

The State opposed his bail application yesterday after evidence from the investigating officer, assistant commissioner Thulani Ncube, who told the court that Tomana was not a suitable candidate for bail as he was allegedly a flight risk.

Ncube also said Tomana was facing a serious offence and because of his power, he could influence the outcome of the pending investigations, adding that he was still to interview six witnesses.

He added that Tomana was well-connected in the region and internationally, which would result in him seeking aid from his friends and connections to flee from the court’s jurisdiction.

However, Tomana’s lawyers, Thabani Mpofu, Alex Mambosasa and Tazorora Musarurwa, denied Ncube’s claims, with Mpofu saying the State’s case was hopeless.

He also accused Ncube of committing criminal abuse of office himself by failing to give a clear explanation as to why he was opposed to Tomana being released on bail.

Mpofu said Tomana had exercised his discretion in terms of Section 260 (1) of the Constitution which gave him independent powers that were not subject to anyone’s control, adding that the police were interfering with Tomana’s prosecutorial functions.

This is not the first time that Tomana has recently been in the news for the wrong reasons.

He was slapped with a 30-day jail sentence by the Constitutional Court in October last year — which he escaped by a whisker — for defying orders by the courts to authorise the private prosecution of rape-accused Zanu PF legislator Munyaradzi Kereke and businesswoman Jane Mutasa.

The ruling came after Tomana approached the highest court in the land challenging judgments of the High Court and Supreme Court compelling him to issue certificates for the private prosecution of Bikita West MP Kereke — who stands accused of raping an 11-year-old girl — as well as that for Mutasa, who was being accused of defrauding Telecel Zimbabwe of $1,7m in airtime.

Last year, First Lady Grace Mugabe, children’s rights activists and women’s organisations called for Tomana’s removal from office after he made controversial statements on child marriages.

Tomana had said that girls as young as 12 must be listened to by the courts if they wished to start families with older men, because they were capable of consenting to sex.

He was also quoted by State media implying that he did not have any problems with child molesters who escaped prison and got away with community service sentences serving their punishment at schools where they had potential to abuse other children.


Comments (28)

When you fall out of Mdhara's favour, pasi panomera ziso

ziggy zigawo - 3 February 2016

Ko paakapiwa bail pakashaiwavo here muchuchisi wehurumende akainivhoka section 121 of Criminal and Codification act akambogarawo mujere kwevhiki ambohwavo kugwadza kwazvo paaitira maChinja nevose vanopikisana nemhondi dzeZANU PF

MukarangawekuMberengwa - 3 February 2016

Mwari ndewemunhu wese. Up to now he has not prosecuted Tichaona Chiminya's murderers and God is doing it himself. Saka zvakanzi "musatsive nokuti kutsiva ndokwangu"

Zvaitika - 3 February 2016

This country is awash with treason allegations and trials, one could be forgiven for concluding that the country is in a belligerent situation.

vivian v siziba - 3 February 2016

This is what happened. The Mnangagwa planned all this hoping to nail down Mujuru and G40. But their own mistake is that they never informed the Mugabe's especially Grace. The educated prof smelled the rate when the cio who had been planted were released or their charges dropped. They thought that nothing will happen since this faction controls the judiciary system. Now G40 is on their necks, I am sorry to say this those cio guys will be eliminated to cover up their tracks, and team Mnangagwa should now pray kuti Mdara anofa anytime soon, otherwise they have been left bare and vultures will come and devour them. Guys this is sugar munandi mirai muone. Musoro bhangu haana kuendera kuchikoro mahara. Mnangagwa you better run now cause the vergence of Jonso's over his father death during gukurahundi its on you, Mdara Bob rave guva ririkufamba

Gushaaz - 3 February 2016

that photo is a master class.

GOGODERA GWAUYA - 3 February 2016

that photo is a master class.

GOGODERA GWAUYA - 3 February 2016

It would be good to credit the photographer who took such a striking image which captures the moment and draws readers to the page more than the story itself

Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi - 3 February 2016

Tomana haasi wega vese ana Florence,Chris i team yake Police widen your nett in that office

mukorekore - 3 February 2016

Viola gwena mamama.taura tinzwe.yo lacoste wil do nthing for Tomama.behind bars.

chifodya - 3 February 2016

Tomana has let Zimbabwe down. All cases of corruption were being swept under the carpet. This is why Zimbabwe is now competing with Nigeria on corruption. Imagine there is the Anti Corruption Commission but nothing is happening in those offices. Imbwa dzevanhu. They must be jailed instead.

George Zuze - 3 February 2016

Ya viola yu next.G40 after yu now.wapinda pa tight ,hure.sungwa .unonyanya.

zuze - 3 February 2016

Tomana so that the case brought against these guys was nonsense as usual and was a worst of time but heessih !!!!!!!!!!! toko

Diibulaanyika - 3 February 2016

The selective application of law by Zanu pf government has gone to far.How many criminals of all sorts that the prosecutor general had released clandestinely before...Thats the problem with working for a mafia government , it eats you up as and when it suits them... Just like that Tomana is gone!

X-MAN IV - 3 February 2016

Amama Tomana

ziggy zigawo - 3 February 2016

Wy gko little Tomana.go for chiwenga tione.

sidy - 3 February 2016

Theris nothing to realy be excited about this.Tomana ,a young man who was busy in his office working now disturbed by nonsense.we wil see in court.thats why the courts are thr,to protect the innocent.soon he wil be bak at work.its the wadyajena isues,non event.

viola gwena - 3 February 2016

those people were just nobodies arrested because Mugabe's dairy is broke. The re is no CIO in this. Dr Fugu trying to fex muscle. Only this time her lack of knowledge has made her touch the untouchable. What an embarrassment for Mugabe. He now has to peal back. Jnathan Moyo is dumb he should have advised his Grace not to venture into such a shameful display of ignorance of the law and constitution

Grace Jones - 4 February 2016

Where did i hear this again? before it was Ngwena in a corner hapana iripo apa kushaya news uku its just Mugabe appeasing the wife , come back next Month it will be gone. Gire neG40 flopped saka trying to stay relevant Kwakwakwa!!!

hameno - 4 February 2016

It looks like Tomana was trying to run away in the photo, i wish he made a run for it kikikikikikikikiki

Harare - 4 February 2016

bail $1000 anohoramariiko

masiks - 4 February 2016

tomama amama

eugene matikiti - 5 February 2016

Kurauone moto Tomana iweeeee.Wazozviona wega.VanaMugabe ndivanamunakaichapinda..........

Powerpoint - 5 February 2016

I dont see Tomama going to jail for this. Besides the fact that no one has ever tried to stage a coup in Zim, a court case will expose how this government abuses state institutions for lousy political games. The whole plot was a trap gone awry

Ndabambi - 7 February 2016

While Kereke is Kerekeless, Tomana is tormented. Kkkkkkkkk.

dhurun'aru - 8 February 2016

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